The perceptions of marketers about lead nurturing aren’t always clear and realistic.
Newsletters are still regarded as a way to nurture leads. Most lead nurturing emails are promotional and they are sent immediately after the lead is generated. And email is still regarded as the one and only communication channel.
The business landscape is too competitive to take such a trivial approach to B2B lead generation and nurturing.
To avoid common mistakes and make lead nurturing more effective, we are listing the main 5 components below.
1. Qualify and segment leads
Users don’t love long forms but you can add “What best describes you?” or “What’s your position” to segment your leads easier. Their names, emails, job titles, and other details will be automatically stored in your CRM and you won’t do manual tasks.
Why is segmentation important? Imagine sending the same email series to a Sales manager and a CEO. They have different responsibilities, different goals, and challenges. So your drip campaigns should carefully consider the differences that exist among your buyer personas.
Another thing to consider is your contact’s buyer’s journey stage. Leads can be classified as MQL (marketing qualified lead), SQL (sales qualified lead), and PQL (product qualified lead).
All of them are leads but not all of them are valuable for the sales team. An MQL may be the one who has downloaded an educational free checklist. An SQL may be the ones who have downloaded your case studies. And a PQL may be the one who has already used your product but hasn’t bought it yet.
Depending on how qualified your leads are, you should build your drip campaign accordingly and take them from “marketing” to “product” qualified.
Every company decides how to segment its leads and who should be qualified as MQL, SQL, and PQL. You should have a lead scoring system in place that will help you qualify leads more easily and according to certain criteria.
Once the leads are scored and qualified, you can start interacting with them via different types of content and on different channels.
2. Diversify content formats and types
Some businesses think that by sending their new blog posts or curated content to their leads, they are nurturing them. In reality, they aren’t.
You should take a strategic approach not only to your content types but also to content formats.
Blog posts can and should be part of your drip campaign. However, it’s not the only format that people would like to see. You can send other formats such as original research, infographics, reports, podcast episodes, Youtube videos, etc.
The most common content types include educational, promotional, inspirational, entertaining, conversational, etc.
- Educational content is what takes your lead closer to understanding the benefits of your product/service. It can be anything from blog posts to infographics and checklists.
- Promotional content focuses on your product/service itself. You may send case studies, customer reviews, sales battle cards, etc.
- Inspirational content can be a story or quote that is connected with your business or the benefits it provides.
- Entertaining content may be in the form of surveys, quizzes, contests, challenges, etc.
- Conversational content is aimed at starting a conversation with the prospect. You may ask questions, ask for advice, feedback, and encourage the recipients to get back to you.
3. Interacts on multiple channels and platforms
Sending SMS and MMS for lead nurturing is mainly popular among B2C companies, especially industries such as real estate, travel, private education, etc. However, B2B companies also move to this channel as the entry barrier is low and results are really promising.
Most texting software companies allow free incoming messages so you make the communication two-way and engage with subscribers.
More and more users will opt into your SMS list if you promote it actively, make the subscription easy (e.g. send [keyword] to [number] to join), and promise valuable text messages. You have only 160 characters to make your point (it’s the standard message size in the USA). No boring intros, no wasted time, only the main idea, a CTA, and a link.
Text messages lead when it comes to open rate and click-through rate. 99% open rate and 29% CTR are numbers that are hard to ensure via another communication channel.
Facebook allows business owners to gain Messenger subscribers and communicate with them. However, that feature isn’t available without Facebook’s permission.
To make that feature available, go to your Facebook business page and follow these steps. Click Settings > Messenger Platform > Advanced Messaging Features > Subscription Messaging > Request.
Facebook Messenger provides as high as 80% open rate and a 20% click-through rate, outperforming email marketing.
Though email averages open rate and click-through rate differ from industry to industry, the average rates among all industries are 21% and 2.6% respectively.
Emails work for almost any industry out there and that’s why the competition is too high. The average office worker receives around 121 emails every workday. That’s too much, agree?
If you don’t want to fully disregard email communication, combine it with at least 1 communication channel.
Website visitors who are retargeted are more likely to convert by 43%. You can use both Google and social media ads to retarget visitors who have taken action on your website but haven’t converted yet.
Retargeting helps reach those leads that haven’t opened your emails/messages but who may be a good fit for our company.
4. Optimize your drip campaign elements
Generally speaking, you can include 4-11 messages in your drip campaign. However, it’s crucial to understand how quickly your leads convert and how many touches they need before becoming a customer.
If your sales cycle lasts for weeks and even months, even 11 messages might not suffice.
According to Campaign Monitor, the ideal email copy should be between 50 and 125 words. However, 200-word emails also seem to drive high CTR.
Regarding text messages, 160 characters are counted as 1 text message in the USA, so SMS shouldn’t exceed that limit.
Instead of making guesses, you can simply ask your subscribers how often they want to receive messages. You can allow them to choose between daily, twice a week, once a week, twice a month.
The best time to send text messages is:
- Between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on weekdays
- Between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays
- Between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
- Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays
The best time to send emails is:
- Between 9 am and 11 am
- Between 2 pm and 3 pm
- Between 7 pm and 10 pm
5. Nurture while they are on your thank you page
In many cases, businesses don’t even create thank you pages on their website. When users download a resource, they see something like “Thank you! Your copy will arrive in your inbox in a few minutes”. No offer, no call to action.
But it’s a great opportunity to put an offer in front of users and encourage them to register for a demo/webinar, book a consultation, etc.
So instead of simply saying “Thank you for downloading/registering/joining”, redirect your lead to a thank you page and start nurturing right away.
Michael is a member of the editorial team at Leads At Scale. His main areas of expertise include business growth, inbound, and outbound marketing & sales. He is a walking wanderer and a travel enthusiast.